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USA should not stockpile cyber weapons, Microsoft says

20 May 2017, 02:11 | Marlene Myers

It's unclear who's behind the attack, but experts say it appears to be the work of cyber criminals, not state sponsored.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", attorney Brad Smith wrote on Microsoft's blog.

This ransomware attack only attacks Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8-based computers, however, Microsoft also released an update for Windows 10 yesterday and reported that they have been still working on the issue for all releases.

Exploits in the hands of governments have repeatedly leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage, wrote Smith, who compared the leaks of Central Intelligence Agency and NSA vulnerabilities to the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.

It blamed governments for storing data on software vulnerabilities which could then be accessed by hackers.

The initial attack, known as "WannaCry", paralyzed computers that run Britain's hospital network, Germany's national railway and scores of other companies and government agencies worldwide in what was believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme so far.

Washington, A cyber-attack that hit 150 countries since Friday should be treated by governments around the world as a "wake-up call", Microsoft has said.

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There are fears of a new wave of problems when people return to work if they have not installed a new security patch issued by Microsoft. Some of the victims have reportedly regained access to their files after paying, although security experts advise against complying with ransom demands.

BitSight's research showed that 67% of 160,000 affected computers were Windows 7 users, whereas the same operating system is used by less than half of global PC users.

The IT ministry has also reached out to key stakeholders like RBI, National Payments Corporation of India, NIC and UIDAI (Aadhaar) to advise them to protect their systems against "Wanna Cry" ransomware to ensure that the digital payments ecosystem in the country is protected, PTI reports.

Smith further wrote in the blog post that governments have to take a new approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world.

Avast said it had seen over 75,000 cases of the ransomware as of this weekend.

Install Microsoft's official patch. It attacks unpatched Microsoft Windows computers. And while Microsoft said it had already released a security update to patch the vulnerability one month earlier, the sequence of events fed speculation that the NSA hadn't told the US tech giant about the security risk until after it had been stolen.



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